Brushing

The most important action you can take to maintain good oral health is to brush and floss your teeth daily. The following information outlines the importance and techniques of proper tooth-brushing.

FAQs

Why is brushing necessary for good oral health?
Plaque, a thin layer of bacteria that covers your teeth, is the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Daily brushing removes plaque and protects your oral health.

How many times a day should I brush my teeth?
Brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes each time.  Your teeth are prone to bacteria build-up while you sleep because saliva flow is reduced. Brushing immediately before bed and when you wake up will help eliminate plaque build-up and will remove food particles from your teeth. You should avoid brushing your teeth more than three times a day because over-brushing may cause your gums to recede over time.

What is the proper technique for brushing my teeth?
PDA recommends the following tips to help you brush your teeth effectively:

  • Brush with the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against the gums.
  • Gently move the brush back and forth using short, tooth-wide strokes.
  • Brush all tooth surfaces, including the inner, outer and chewing surfaces.
  • Use the top end of the brush to clean the inside surface of the front teeth with an up-and-down motion.

How should I properly care for my toothbrush?
To reduce the amount of germs on your toothbrush:

  • Do not share toothbrushes. Just like germs can be passed when you are sick, sharing toothbrushes may result in bodily fluids and infection being passed from one person to another.
  • Rinse your toothbrush after each use. This will help remove any remaining toothpaste and debris.
  • Store your toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air dry. If storing multiple toothbrushes, keep them separated and do not cover them or store them in a closed container.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months or when your toothbrush shows signs of wear, such as frayed bristles. A child's toothbrush typically needs to be replaced more often than that of an adult.

How effective are electric toothbrushes?
Individuals who are less attentive to proper brushing techniques or have physical limitations may choose to use an electric toothbrush. Electric brushes are a fine alternative to manual brushes. When properly used, these toothbrushes can effectively remove plaque and reduce gingivitis along with bleeding gums.

Resources

PDA's Kids's Corner: Tips on Brushing and Flossing
American Dental Association: Brushing Your Teeth
Simple Steps to Better Dental Health: Brushing Tips
News Release: What You Need to Know About Dental Health Care Products